Stephen Kellogg at Arch Street Tavern

Sunday night, Stephen Kellogg ended 2013 with his last show in Hartford, CT at the Arch Street Tavern.  This is a restaurant, not a venue so the seating was rather awkward.  We opted for a booth over a seat in the middle of the floor because we wanted to eat.  That meant I had my back to the stage and would have to lean around the booth to see the stage.  Opener Dan Mills took the stage at 8pm and I opted to not turn around for most of his set, but the sound was great and I did enjoy his set even if I couldn’t see him! At 9, Stephen took the stage and more people had showed up, blocking our view even if we did lean out of the booth.  Fortunately they ended up moving to a different spot and I ended up sharing the other side of the booth with my friend so I wasn’t twisting around all night.

Since it was a holiday run of shows – he did a couple of Christmas songs after talking about how creepy most of them are – noting particularly Santa Baby and Baby It’s Cold Outside. Then he did another creepy Christmas song – I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus. He had Dan come back to sing Winter Wonderland with him and Dan stayed on stage to do Start the Day Early with him as well.

Before Ingrid’s Song he asked if the bar could be quiet for just 2 minutes and then seemed to get a bit annoyed when while he was talking about the song and how it is for his mother in law and glasses were still clanking. Things seemed to calm down when he was actually performing the song though.

He talked a bit about how David Copperfield had been really inspiring to him on his latest record (which he said based on sales he knew most of us didn’t have it. oops! I keep meaning to buy it but then get distracted!)  Then he read a few passages from the book.

He ended the main set with Thanksgiving – which gets so much emotion behind it, it gives you goosebumps. The song gets more and more powerful as it goes on and it was just an amazing performance.

For the encore he did a couple songs and then moved out in the crowd and stood on a chair to do My Favorite Place. And he had us sing along.. and along and along. It was a great sing a long to end the night!

He mentioned coming back to end his tour in March in Fairfield so I am looking forward to that – as long as it doesn’t fall on a date when I already have a show. (His other dates are dangerously close to the weekend I am already booked up!)

Born in the Spring
Watch You Grow
Shady Esperanto and the Young Hearts
Lost and Found
4th of July
The Brain is a Beautiful Thing
Girlfriend as Pretty As You
I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
Winter Wonderland
Start The Day Early
Men and Women
Ingrid’s Song
(Copperfield Reading)
See Yourself
See You Later, See You Soon

Satisfied Man
My Favorite Place


Book Review: Renaissance Man

renaissanceRenaissance Man is Book 3 in the Blaze of Glory series. (I have previously reviewed Blaze of Glory and Look Twice) .  If you have not read any of the books in this series yet and do not want to be spoiled, then I recommend you do not start reading this review.  Seriously, don’t read beyond this point because I will be mentioning things that happened in the previous books and if you want to read them you will be spoiled. (I was spoiled on the first book when I was setting up the review post so I know how terrible it is to be spoiled on this series.) Leave the post now…

In Book 3, Tea’s twin brother Seth is off in Europe looking for their biological father and traveling.  Jaden isn’t around as much because he is working to become a lawyer and has to put in a lot of extra hours at the office.  Tea is off competing with Hades almost every weekend and it seems to be putting a bit of stress on her and Jaden’s relationship because they hardly ever get to see each other.  Jaden is trying to get Tea to pursue her schooling to become a vet more seriously because she can’t ride horses for the rest of her life.  Tea doesn’t see why she can’t!  Tea then begins to realize that Jaden isn’t happy with his career in becoming a lawyer, that he was always happier when he was playing polo.  Their relationship seems to be on the rocks and when an opportunity arises for Jaden to leave to help his uncle with his horses, Tea tells him to jump at the chance hoping it would get him back into polo and happier again.

There is all sorts of other drama going on with Hades getting stolen and how to deal with that. Also, Jaden’s father wants the family to sell the farm so he can have extra money to get married again and have children with his new wife.  Dec doesn’t really want to sell it because he wanted Tea and Seth to live there until they finished school. Gran doesn’t really want anything to be sold either but ultimately it is up to Dec and his brother and sister what they want to do.  Tea doesn’t want to lose the farm and barn and wants to figure out a plan to make things work.

It was interesting to see the changes in the characters over the three books (mostly for the better) and how everyone is still trying to deal with Jaden and Tea’s relationship. Also how Tea’s relationship with Seth differs with him not around most of the book.  Another great book from m. garzon and I am still looking forward to what happens with this as a TV series!  This is the last book of the trilogy.  These books are recommended for ages 15+.

The author sent me a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review. I was not otherwise compensated.


About the Book

The third book in the popular ‘Blaze of Glory’ series, soon to be adapted for television.

“And they lived happily ever after.”

In fairy tales, that’s always how things end. The prince and
princess ride away on his white horse, and from then on all’s right with
the world. But what if it wasn’t? What if the prince’s life didn’t suit
the princess? What if she felt stifled by life inside the castle walls?
Could she tell him? And if she loved him—really loved him—how could she
ask him to give up his kingdom?

Book Review: Ruby Heart


Ruby Heart is the second book in the Neve & Egan Cases.  I had not read the first one but that did not seem to be a problem as I read book two. Alexandra Neve and Ashford Egan are Private Eyes. Egan is her blind former history professor. The book follows the job they take from Mrs. Hargrave.  She had a ruby heart necklace which was a family heirloom.  It had gotten stolen when her parents were taken to a concentration camp during WWII.  Recently, it had been recovered in an abandoned house and returned to her, but shortly after that it was stolen from Mrs. Hargrave’s home.  Mrs. Hargrave believes that not wearing it is bad luck as her mother wore it to her wedding and had a happy marriage and her grandmother as well.  She and her son’s wife did not and are now divorced.  Since her granddaughter is set to be married soon she wants her to wear it so that she will not be cursed with an unhappy marriage.

The case has 2 crimes that they are trying to investigate – to find out where the necklace went after her parents were taken during the Holocaust as well as to try and find who took it more recently.  When Neve’s flat gets ransacked and her mother injured by the intruder, she knows she is on the right track – even though she is not sure exactly what track that is.  Will she be able to solve the case and get the necklace back before Mrs. Hargrave’s daughters wedding? With Mrs. Hargrave’s health failing – can she hold on long enough to be reunited with the only connection she has to her parents?

I really liked this story. I love a good mystery and this story had a lot of twists and turns.  Just when I thought I had something figured out – I realized I didn’t.  Neve & Egan are good at what they do and I really liked their chemistry together as well.  I am looking forward to future cases with them!

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to participate in the blog tour. I was not otherwise compensated.

Ruby Heart Book Summary:

When elderly client Doris Hargrave informs private investigator Alexandra Neve that her beloved antique ruby heart necklace has gone missing for the second time in a period of over sixty years, Alexandra knows this is no ordinary jewellery theft. The ruby heart is a family heirloom and the only thing that connects an ailing Mrs Hargrave to her parents, who were murdered during the Holocaust.

To solve the case, Alexandra and her business partner, blind history professor Ashford Egan, must sift through obscure Holocaust documents to find out the truth. It’s that way that they learn of a secret World War II-era love affair which could hold the key to all the answers they are looking for. Meanwhile, Egan is under immense pressure from the university to quit his private investigating business, and Alexandra is afraid that a man she trusts will leave her. Again.

When Alexandra begins to receive anonymous threats and her flat is vandalised, this all becomes personal. Knowing that there is someone out there to hurt her, Alexandra vows to find that elusive ruby heart if it’s the last thing she ever does.

Cristelle Comby‘s Bio: 

Cristelle Comby was born and raised in the French-speaking area of Switzerland, in Greater Geneva, where she still resides.

Thanks to her insatiable thirst for American and British action films and television dramas, her English is fluent.

She attributes to her origins her ever-peaceful nature and her undying love for chocolate. She has a passion for art, which also includes an interest in drawing and acting.

Ruby Heart is her second new-adult novel, and she’s hard at work on the next titles in the Neve & Egan series.

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Book Review: Phil Jackson


Phil Jackson is a pretty well known guy in basketball and I know this because I know of him and I don’t know many names in basketball.  This is a biography of him, though it is unauthorized and he was not a part of the project as he has released several of his own books.  He had no problem with his friends talking to the author though and did not try to interfere even though he was working on his own book.

Probably best known for his time with the Chicago Bulls (at least to me) this book tells a lot more about the man and what led to him becoming such a successful coach – and ‘the lord of the rings’ as the book calls him.

The book is well written and flows.  It is a bit on the longer side – but how can you fit so much greatness in anything less? It only has about 10 pages of notes – which is fascinating because usually these biographies that are super long have much more than that listed and then I get excited because it ends much earlier than I thought it would 😉   The post scripts include some anecdotes and talk from some of his friends more candid than in the biography.  They all seem to be inspired by him and speak very highly of him.

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

About the Book

Phil Jackson —the legendary coach of the Los Angeles Lakers and Chicago Bulls —has told his own story. Now it is time for a different view —a deeply reported, unauthorized account by one of America’s top sports journalists.

Book Review: And Then Run


I’m really not sure what I thought about this book.  Because it was 400+ pages it took me a while to sit down and start it.  Once it did start, it kept my attention but only because I wanted to see how everything was going to fit together. Chapters alternated from 15 years ago (or so.. as the book went on it became 14, 12 etc.) to present day, so it basically had 2 storylines going and I very much so wanted to see how the two would connect but I don’t know that they ever did.  Part of the reason I chose to read this book was because one of the snippet reviews said it was like Dexter.  I guess, in a way I can see how one could come to that conclusion (the main character kills people who try to mug him.  Except a lot of the time he goes off looking for someone to mug him by waving wads of money around) but Dexter doesn’t go looking for trouble he just kills guys who are already bad. (I guess it could also be argued that these muggers have most likely already mugged someone else.)  There wasn’t too much killing in it, but there was a lot of sex and threesomes.  I guess it was to try and get you into Jerome’s headspace. But as the book went on things made less and less sense to me.  I had a few ideas of how I thought the book was going to end (since the ending is “unforgettable”) and knew if that was how it ended I’d be mad.  Except I think that the way it ended left me even more mad because it just seemed to be so abrupt and left so much confusion for me. I did enjoy Eric’s writing style but not so much the content, although it did manage to keep me reading until the end.

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

About the Book

Eric Hublot’s sociopathically pornographic, bizarrely philosophical debut novel follows the life of anti-hero Jerome Esterson. Jerome has everything – looks, money, women, friends. And yet, he seems to be fighting a losing battle with reality.

From the story’s reckless opening to its unforgettable conclusion, And Then Run’s net of desire, psychosis, and philosophy keeps readers unwillingly identifying with Jerome s psycopathic tendencies, and wondering about the boundaries of their own personal realities.

Product Review: Solid Cordz

Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.

Here’s a true story that happened at my house recently.  I wake up and come downstairs and my mom goes “Katie! I left the Christmas lights on all night because I had to use this big extension cord because the timer didn’t fit in the box on the porch and then it snowed and then the timer got frozen so it never turned off! I need to find a way to keep the timer on the porch so it is covered!”  I knew that I had a set of Solid Cordz in my room, but hadn’t had a chance to look at them yet because they arrived while I was nursing an arm injury and working on blog posts was the last thing on my mind. So I told her where to find them and told her to grab one and try it out.  She came in “That was exactly what I needed! It sticks out of the box but the timer is still on the porch!”  (Note: It does say for indoor use only, but we figure covered on the porch it will be safe. It has snowed again since the original frozen timer issue and we’ve not had a problem.)

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I had intended to show using the Solid Cordz to help with a power strip – because several of my plugs (camera battery chargers, for the most part) take up 2 slots on the power strip once you plug them in.  Once you have the Solid Cordz you can fully utilize all of the plugs on the strip and things are kept a bit more orderly.  As you can see in the photos below – the strip before – there are 2 spots open and I have one in the side which doesn’t seem to work as well as the middle.  Then I put the battery charger only for it to cover the additional plug, but wait! Add a SolidCordz to the 3rd plug and attach the camera charger to it and there is no problem adding the 4th plug!

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Convenient & money saving 5-pack
12-inch length to provide a clean, organized look
Equipped with a 16AWG wire gauge
Underwriters Laboratories (UL) listed
CSA Approved for top quality
Heavy-duty molded ends

Liberates the power strip
A staple for any Technophile
Perfect for the office and home
Get the full use of your power strips and outlets with our high-quality liberating extension cords
Just plug those big bulky power adapters into our cables and plug the cables into those previously unusable outlets
Replace multiple power strips with one unit by utilizing slots!

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Book Review: Happily Ever After

happilyWhile I don’t watch The Bachelor or Bachelorette, I’ve obviously seen a lot about Trista and Ryan in the media since their relationship was one of the few to actually have worked out after the show ended.  I always thought their story was so great and that Ryan was so sweet!  Happily Ever After is by Trista and tells about how she first felt she was in a bit of a rut so she decided to try out to be on The Bachelor.  After having her heart broken, she jumped at the chance to be the first Bachelorette, where she met Ryan, they fell in love and well… Happily Ever After.  Or something like that.

The book talks a bit about of the challenges they have had to face in their marriage, having kids, and how to balance everything once they have kids.  Since it’s a self-help book she gives a lot of advice in addition to sharing her story.

Something I took from the book was how she tweets about her “favorite part of the day” every day.  I think it is too easy to get wrapped up in having a bad day – but if you really sit there and think about it – there had to have been something good – or your favorite part of the day.  This is something that I am going to consider doing as well because I seem to all too easily fall into a funk after having a couple of bad days – but there HAS to be some good there.  I think if I focus on that, no matter how small, my attitude towards things should chance.

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

About the Book

Whether or not you remember Trista (Rehn) Sutter from her heartbreak on the first season of The Bachelor reality show or as the original Bachelorette, you’ve probably seen her on the cover of magazines or on shows like Dancing with the Stars. This former pediatric physical therapist and Miami Heat dancer had her fairy tale fall into place with a whirlwind courtship and dream-come-true wedding to a poetry-writing firefighter Ryan Sutter. Since falling in love on The Bachelorette more than ten years ago, Trista and Ryan have been busy raising two kids.

Trista is often asked her secret to being one of the rare reality-TV relationships to make it to the altar and beyond. In this heartfelt book, she shares the simple yet profound keys to finding everyday happiness and success: gratitude and grace.

Book Review: Eartha Gets Well

earthaEartha Gets Well is a story about a little girl who is sick all the time.  She actually sounds a lot like me.  She doesn’t exercise and she doesn’t eat her vegetables. (I won’t eat anything that is green)  She’s not sure why she is always sick but then she finds out that if she eats better (broccoli and carrots, among other things and less sweets!) She will feel better and if she gets fresh air and exercise she’ll feel better too.  During her journey of realizing how to make herself better, she also finds out about recycling and how to make the earth better too!

This is a cute ans great book geared towards kids about eating healthy and promoting how to keep the earth healthy too. A great short story for bedtime!

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

About the Book

Is it a struggle to get your kids to eat healthy, want to be active, and get outside for fresh air and exercise? Then introduce them to Eartha! Eartha Gets Well is a story about a little girl who never exercised, didn t like vegetables, and was always sick. Eartha learns how to make herself, her family, and the Earth feel better! Throughout her adventure, she realizes that she can be healthy and happy by making a few simple changes. When she realizes how easy and fun it is, she wants to tell everybody!

Book Review: Bells Will Be Ringing

Bells will be ringing is 4 short romance stories that center around Christmas.

In Her Secret Santa, Rebecca thinks that her secret santa gifts are too perfect and thinks that whoever got them for her must have talked to her best friend Ben unless it IS him.  They have a moment after a night out but she doesn’t want it to go any futher for fear of ruining their friendship.  Eventually she figures out that she is wrong and wants to be with him – but is it too late?

Merry’s Wonderful Christmas Gift is more of a historical fiction romance story.  The boy that Merry loves had to leave town and became an Earl after several tragic deaths in his family. She thinks that he has forgotten about her but she continues to show up at their meeting spot.  When he comes back to town – can they rekindle their flame or has he moved on?

In His Hawaiian Christmas, Clara is working her first holiday at a resort in Hawaii and is missing her home is Wisconsin.  One of her coworkers, Kai, is a real pain in the butt and is always trying to come up with events to run when she is the main event planner.  He has no care about the danger that he may put guests in and she always has to tell him no.  Then he comes up with a great idea for a Christmas Eve event.  After the event goes off without a hitch the two end up at the same private beach after hours.  When Kai asks Clara what she wants for Christmas – she says snow.  He says he can get that for her.  But in Hawaii? Is he able to pull through with the gift and change her feelings for him?

Finally we meet up with Julia and Gavin in Gavin Fever.  Julia her met her ex Gavin through friends. When they broke up, both seemed to still have feelings for each other.  The mutual friends invited Julia and another couple to their cabin for Christmas. But when Julia arrives her friends aren’t there – she is all alone – until Gavin shows up.  At first, Gavin says that he didn’t know she would be there but later Julia finds out that her friend Ashley helped orchestrate the plan so they could have a night at the cabin together to see if they were still into each other. (Why Julia didn’t realize something was going on when she knew she’d be the 5th wheel, I don’t know! ha)  Is Julia still in love with Gavin? Will the plan work out?

This was a nice read, easy to read a story or two before bed.

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

About The Book

Tis the season…to fall in love! In this quartet of holiday tales, mistletoe magic sweeps from a Philadelphia candy company to the ballrooms of Regency England, across the shores of a Hawaiian island to a snowstruck cabin in Colorado.

Her Secret Santa by Monica Tillery
Neighbors and co-workers at Morgan Confectioners, Rebecca Sinclair and Ben Redding have been best friends since grad school. When their feelings turn more than friendly, will they be able to get past their fear of ruining their friendship? A holiday gift exchange might just bring the best present of all—Christmas love.

Merry’s Wonderful Christmas Gift by Carolynn Carey
The winter holidays used to be Miss Merry Damonson’s favorite time of year. Until her almost-fiancé Edward Everton abandoned her two days before Christmas. Now he’s returned to their country village, but is it too late to reignite old flames? A holiday ball might just offer these unlucky lovers a second chance.

His Hawaiian Christmas by Diana Jean
Humbug in Hawaii? When Clara O’Fallen gets a promotion to paradise, she can’t help feeling homesick for her Wisconsin winters, complete with real snow, family traditions, and Christmas festivities. But smiling surfer Kai Schmitt might just show this scrooge how to hang loose and catch the spirit of the season—the aloha spirit!

Gavin Fever by Angelita Gill
A sudden snowstorm unexpectedly strands Julia Winthrop with her ex, reality TV star Gavin Beckett, at a cozy mountain cabin for the holidays. Trapped till the weather lets up, their attraction resurfaces. It’s not long before they realize their fling might’ve been the real thing, and this surprise reunion might just be a Christmas miracle.

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