Action Item @ Club 939

Sunday night, Action Item came to Boston, MA’s Club 939 for an intimate and special performance.  The band is currently on a ‘great mission’ in order to fund their first full length album.  They are soliciting donations through indiegogo to create 3 EPs which when put together will be one full length album they are calling Great Mission. They have recently reached the halfway point of their goal and are currently just under $5,000 away from their entire goal of $25,000 and have just a couple of weeks left to try and get there.

To help promote their mission, they decided to do a few intimate concerts (I believe they are doing 4) to premiere some of the new music that may or may not make the album and talk a bit about their songs in between performing to make things a bit different for their fans.  They did a 10 song set in Boston with 4 of them being new songs. I did record one of the songs but at the request of the band, I will not be posting it.  (Maybe I can after it is released – we will see!) After the show the guys made an effort to try to talk to everyone in attendance to catch up and get their feedback on the songs.  I have to say, I wasn’t sure what to expect from the new stuff but I love it.  They did mention that the versions may not necessarily be the final versions but I think if they continue on the path that these 4 songs are going down that it will be a great first part of the album!

It was a lot of fun to be a part of such an intimate show that will hopefully be the start of something great!  (It helped that the other songs they did in their set were pretty much all of my favorites of theirs!)




Marching Band
The Start of Something
Last Day of Summer
We’ll Be Fine
Somewhere Out There
The Answer
The Scientist (Coldplay Cover)
Good or Bad


Check out the band’s fundraiser at IndiGoGo

Book Review: The Billion Dollar Bachelor

billiondollarThe Billion Dollar Bachelor is about Pandora, daughter to a powerful man that keeps her protected and isolated at all times.  Except one night she manages to escape out of the limo while no one is looking. She turns off her cell phone in hopes that no one can track her and heads to a bar.  Trying to keep anonymous, she meets a good looking guy and the two hit it off.  Neither of them tell each other who they are, they just called each other “Snow White” and “The Huntsman”.  He is Jax Marrow, rich entrepreneur whose family has previously had some issues with Pandora’s family.  They end up going back to “Hunts” place, Pandora loses her virginity to him and then he gets mad at her that it wasn’t “special”.  Pandora doesn’t care, she just wanted it to happen and is happy to be free, at least for one night.

The next morning, her Dad and his security team are there to bring her back home – it is her birthday and he is going to get her a fiance for her birthday! Except that Pandora wants nothing to do with the guy her Dad wants to pair her up with.  She doesn’t want to be used as part of a business deal.  So her father proposes another deal – that she marry Jax instead.  If not, he will disclose all of Jax’s family secrets.  Jax agrees and the two make an announcement of their engagement and act like they’d been dating in secret for a while.  Pandora likes this set up as she is falling for Jax – but Jax keeps pushing her away because he is afraid to lose control.  When Jax finally comes around and decides that he wants Pandora to be all his – Pandora panics and runs off.

What will end up happening? Will the expensive engagement party go to waste? Will they realize they both love each other?  Find out by reading The Billion Dollar Bachelor.

I have to say, I enjoyed most of this book.  However, Jax kind of made me crazy in his whole “not wanting to lose control”.  The book was short, so he didn’t really elaborate all that much on WHY that is – and I kind of wish that he did.  We know it stems from an incident with his mother and half-brother but I really wanted to know more of his back story and what was going on there. And then near the end Pandora was kind of making me nuts as well.  Neither of them could say what they wanted or knew what they wanted.  I guess if not, the story would have been pretty blah and predictable though.

I am looking forward to reading The Billion Dollar Bad Boy which is about Jax’s brother Donovan – coming out soon!

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

About the Book

The Billionaire’s Club: a fabulously sexy contemporary series about some of the world’s wealthiest, most powerful men and the women they claim…and keep.

Jax Morrow is a dangerously handsome, spectacularly wealthy entrepreneur whose world is turned upside down when Pandora Garret walks into a dark, smoky bar one night—a stunning combination of sex and innocence. He knows she’s trouble at first sight, but Jax can’t let her leave…unless she’s leaving with him.

Pandora has had enough. Kept under lock and key by her powerful, controlling father, she aches for freedom. When she briefly escapes and meets Jax she knows he is just what she has been looking for: forbidden, unforgettable passion. After one night in Jax’s arms, Pandora knows she can never go back to living under one man’s domination. Determined to control her own life she tries to resist Jax, but a dangerous desire rises between them—one that threatens to destroy them. But both Pandora and Jax discover that they just can’t be pulled away… Dont miss Donovans story in The Billion Dollar Bad Boy coming in March 2014 and Seans story in The Billionaire Biker coming in April 2014

Love with Food – March Box


Another month, another Love with Food box.  Each month I get a box of snacks and for every box sold, a meal is donated to a food bank such as the Feeding America Network and Share Our Strength – No Kid Hungry.If you’d like to sign up – please consider using my affiliate link –

Cassava Chips by Wai Lana
Made in Hawaii from nutrient-rich cassava, these gluten-free, non-GMO chips contain 30% less fat than regular potato chips.
These smelled so bad I was hesitant to try them. They were salt and vinegar and the vinegar was far too over powering. Took one bite and tossed the rest in the trash.  Couldn’t do it.
Shortbread Fingers by Walkers
A Scottish tradition since 1898, Walker’s still uses the same family recipe and just 4 simple, all-natural ingredients.
Shortbread has to be one of my favorites and I’ve never met a shortbread cookie I didn’t like. This is no exception. Excellent!
Earl Grey Tea by Taylors of Harrogate
An English classic from Taylors, an official supplier to the British royal household
Earl Grey is one of my favorites and this did not disappoint!

Chai Spice Macaroons by Emmy’s Organics
An American classic gets a makeover with organic ingredients and Indian chai spices including cinnamon, ginger, cardamom and clove.
I’m not a macaroon fan, but my parents tried these and gave them two thumbs up.
Lollipops by Pierrot Gourmand
These all-natural lollipops, adored by generations of French children, are the perfect little indulgence for any time of day
This lollipop was excellent! It was banana flavored and tasted just like the real thing. Would definitely want to try more of these!
Taco & Burrito Seasoning by Desert Gardens
Head south of the border and put some kick into your tacos, burritos or nachos with this all-natural spice blend.
We made some nachos with this seasoning. Two big thumbs up.

Pasta Chips by Vintage Italia
Pasta, meet snack time: fresh semolina dough is baked to the perfect crunch with traditional Italian seasonings.
These tasted more like eating pizza chips than pasta, but definitely very good and something I’d consider having again.
Ginger Chews by Chimes
The uniquely intense ginger grown in the shadow of Mt. Bromo, Indonesia, gives these candies their signature kick.
These were a bit too much for me, but if you are a fan of ginger you’ll love it. The “signature kick” I think was what did me in.


Book Review: The Fan Fiction Studies Reader

fanfictionLately I’ve been reading up about Fan Fiction.  Why? I don’t know.  Yes, I do have a few fan fiction ideas rattling around in my brain but I’m not sure I’ll do anything about it.  (Today I am having one of those “oh man I have so many ideas and no time!” kind of days.  Brain, kindly stop thinking so I can get some stuff done and clear up my schedule a bit!)  But it is always interesting to read about fan fiction in other fandoms.  This book seems to have mentions of Star Trek and Sherlock Holmes, which are apparently really, really big with the whole fan fiction thing – and I really had no idea. (Aside from seeing it mentioned in other fan fic books I’ve read lately.)  I guess I shouldn’t be all that surprised – if there are interesting characters already there for you it is not all that difficult to take them and run with whatever fantasies you may have for them.

It is interesting that this is now becoming a field of study – and that this is one of the texts that will be used.  I mean, I can totally see this being used as a text book because it has a lot of great information in it and covers several different genres and aspects of fan fic, I guess it’s just interesting to me that people are studying it.  But then again, I’m the one who is reading multiple books about it so I’m not sure why that’s so far fetched to me either.

If you’re interesting in learning more about Fan Fiction then this is a great reader to check out.

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

About the Book

An essential introduction to a rapidly growing field of study, The Fan Fiction Studies Reader gathers in one place the key foundational texts of the fan studies corpus, with a focus on fan fiction. Collected here are important texts by scholars whose groundbreaking work established the field and outlined some of its enduring questions. Editors Karen Hellekson and Kristina Busse provide cogent introductions that place each piece in its historical and intellectual context, mapping the historical development of fan studies and suggesting its future trajectories.
Organized into four thematic sections, the essays address fan-created works as literary artifacts; the relationship between fandom, identity, and feminism; fandom and affect; and the role of creativity and performance in fan activities. Considered as literary artifacts, fan works pose important questions about the nature of authorship, the meaning of “originality,” and modes of transmission. Sociologically, fan fiction is and long has been a mostly female enterprise, from the fanzines of the 1960s to online forums today, and this fact has shaped its themes and its standing among fans. The questions of how and why people become fans, and what the difference is between liking something and being a fan of it, have also drawn considerable scholarly attention, as has the question of how fans perform their fannish identities for diverse audiences.

Thanks to the overlap between fan studies and other disciplines related to popular and cultural studies—including social, digital, and transmedia studies—an increasing number of scholars are turning to fan studies to engage their students. Fan fiction is the most extensively explored aspect of fan works and fan engagement, and so studies of it can often serve as a basis for addressing other aspects of fandom. These classic essays introduce the field’s key questions and some of its major figures. Those new to the field or in search of context for their own research will find this reader an invaluable resource.


Book Review: Banish Clutter Forever

banishClutter is certainly something I’ve always had a problem with. Since moving in to the new house things look different but there’s still clutter – this time in the form of boxes that have yet to be unpacked.  But it looks like there is good news – as this book assures me there is no “tidy gene” and that you can learn to be tidy at any age.  I’m ready!

There is a method to using this book to help you – it is recommended that you read the first 2 chapters and then try out the bathroom exercise, then continue on with the rest of the book. There is a specific order of what rooms to de-clutter and you don’t have to do them in order, but if you are new to being organized it is suggested.  The book is designed to be with you while you are organizing to help you make it through the process.

The book introduced me to “the toothbrush concept” and I really think that this is my problem.  Your toothbrush is always where you need it, you don’t misplace it. You can find it every morning. You don’t put it anywhere it doesn’t belong just “for now”.  And that is my problem.  I throw things around in other piles so they can at some point “find a home” and then I have piles of stuff without homes.

After reading the first 2 chapters I checked out the bathroom exercise and realized – I’m already to a certain extent using the concept in the bathroom. So I just have to figure out how to use this in other rooms too! The future chapter talks about my go to excuse = I know where everything is, even though it’s messy.  This section of the book described me to a T. It also showed me how my “method” is flawed. (and I am lazy!)

I found that this book has a lot of great tips and is better than a couple other books I’ve read on the topic. I think that some of these methods I will be able to use and stick with so that I won’t end up with clutter every couple of weeks. I liked that there are different tips and methods for different rooms – you’re not going to tackle the bathroom the same as a kitchen or a bedroom and different methods are all worked out for each room.

I now have a lot of work ahead of me so I better get to it!

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

About the Book

A revolutionary system to help even the most disorganized person live in a state of clutter-free bliss, forever Why is it that even the most disorganized person never seems to lose their toothbrush? How can this simple fact solve all clutter problems? The Toothbrush Principle is a simple yet inspired approach to decluttering any home. Whether in a mansion or a one bedroom apartment, this book will teach readers how to organize according to the unconscious blueprint that naturally tidy people have, so that getting and staying organized is easy. Using this system, readers will learn what to throw away with confidence; how to set up a wardrobe to get much more use out of the clothes they already have; how to work from home productively in a clear, designated space; and how to tame their inbox! Step-by-step, room-by-room, those looking to lose their clutter will soon find that they hardly ever lose things, that massive clear-outs become a thing of the past, and that they never spend more than 10 minutes a day tidying up. Here is the key to stop drowning in piles of clutter and start creating space to live out the life of your dreams!

Book Review: Misbehaving

misbehavingAnother Cosmo Red Hot Read from Harlequin! I am considering only reading these from now on! (At least where my romance novels are concerned!) The main character in this book is Beatriz – and she is a blogger! We must have so much in common!  Well, maybe not.  Bea blogs about sex toys and the like.

We meet Bea and she is getting a call from her boss and being told that one of her coworkers can’t write their story and Bea must write something instead. Bea is on the way to her sister’s wedding and says maybe she can write an easy book review and the boss says that would be fine.  Before leaving she grabs an envelope off her stack of review items and heads out to the airport.

Then she realizes that the book she grabbed was a sex position manual.  The only way to review that is to try the positions. Who is she going to find at the wedding to try them with?

Fortunately, her sister’s husband to be’s best friend is also the “one who got away” for Bea. She fell in love with him when they were in college but Ben wanted nothing to do with her.  Bea’s sister Claudia finds out that it is because her fiance Henry told him to back off because he didn’t want things with Claudia to go south if and when Ben broke up with Bea.

It seems that the feelings between the two are mutual, and Ben agrees to help out with Bea’s “Work” and have sex with her using the manual as a guide.  While Bea is first looking at it as just work and ending after their week away for the wedding is over, will her feelings change? Does Ben feel the same way?

Another quick and easy read and I really enjoyed it Sometimes I don’t like how these things end but I think this one worked out to be just perfect! Lots of crazy wedding drama thrown in for good measure as well!

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

About the Book

Wanted: Adventurous, open-minded man willing to try…anything

As a popular sex blogger, Beatriz gets paid to have orgasms. So being on deadline the week of her sister’s wedding isn’t as rough as it sounds. There’s just one hitch: Bea’s assignment is to write a review of a sex position manual, but she doesn’t have a plus-one to play with.

The good news: Ben, the one who got away back in college, is also attending stag—and he’s as temptingly gorgeous as ever.

The bad news: Ben turned down Bea’s offer of graduation-night sex five years ago.

The best news: He’s not planning on making the same mistake twice….

Book Review: Do Your Laundry Or You’ll Die Alone

laundryUnfortunately this book was not really properly formatted for either my Nook or my computer. Somehow a lot of text ended up on top of itself which made reading it a bit difficult. The book is full of advice your mom would give you if she thought you were listening and clocks in at just under 200 pages.  Although it is a bit on the longer side, it is (or should have been) a rather quick and easy read with short little pieces of advice on each page.  Some of it is common sense and others are not.  I had no idea if I didn’t do my laundry I would die alone…  Maybe I should stop reading and get on that?

Oh but wait – #37 is “Reading is sexy” I guess the laundry can wait until after I am finished here.

While I did enjoy this book and it did have a lot of great advice in it, I truly wish I could have enjoyed it as it was intended and not with words getting cut off and being on top of one another.  If you buy the book and it looks proper – please let me sneak a peak?

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

About the Book

When Becky Blades sent her firstborn daughter off to Harvard, she knew the world’s top-ranked college would not be covering the most important material: how to be kind, happy, and appropriate in public; how to protect oneself from sock monsters, boring conversations, and scary dates; and why you should keep your clothes clean. So the day before classes started, Blades emailed a good-bye letter with motherly advice she had kept to herself for a year. Just in time for her youngest daughter’s graduation from high school, Blades illustrated the prose with her signature mixed-media artwork, creating a thought-provoking, conversation-starting book.


With warmth, wit, and a hint of motherly sass, Do Your Laundry, or You’ll Die Alone: Advice Your Mom Would Give If She Thought You Were Listening blends bite-sized morsels of coming-of-age common sense such as, “Keep at least one stuffed animal,” and, “A bad attitude makes your butt look big,” with tiny essays on topics like forgiveness and phone etiquette.

Book Review: The Bambino and Me

bambinoThe Bambino and Me is an awesome book.  It tells the story of a kid growing up in the 1920s that is a HUGE Babe Ruth fan. The kid, George, is also a huge Yankees fan so when Babe gets traded to The Yankees he hopes that he and his dad can go see his idol in person.  For his birthday, he gets tickets to see the Yankees vs the Red Sox and his uncle sends him a baseball jersey and cap from Boston.  George wants nothing to do with this jersey at all (what Yankee fan would?) but his mother tells him he has to wear it to the game!  He gets picked on the whole way to the game and the whole time he is at the game.  All George wants is to meet his idol, Babe Ruth.  After the game, two guys grab George and take him away.  But what is going to happen? Is he in trouble for wearing a Red Sox jersey?

I thought this book was a super great story and the illustrations are just out of this world amazing.  Apparently the actual book comes with a CD of Jason Alexander narrating the story – which would probably make things even more perfect, I am kind of bummed I didn’t get to hear his narration!  It is short but a great story and I just can’t say enough good things about it.

About the Book

A picture book that perfectly conjures 1920s New York for fans of baseball and Babe Ruth. This book also includes a CD narrated by Jason Alexander!

George Henry Alexander is a huge fan of baseball. His favorite team is the New York Yankees and his favorite player is Babe Ruth. George plays baseball during his free time and he listens to the games on the radio with his dad. Everywhere he goes, he carries his Babe Ruth baseball card.

On his birthday, George’s parents surprise him with two tickets to watch the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees–his first real game! But his presents don’t stop there. Uncle Alvin has sent him a baseball jersey and cap, but it’s for the Boston Red Sox! Filled with horror, George tosses them aside, but his mother will not have any of that. He will wear them to the baseball game with his dad!

What will happen at the game? Will George get to meet Babe Ruth while wearing the opposing team’s jersey?

Book Review: The Music Room

musicroomThe Music Room is about a guy named Marty.  His wife and he are separating and then he finds out that his brother Perry has killed himself.  Marty heads out to New York from California to try and figure out what happened to him.  A lot of the book is told through flashbacks of when Marty and Perry were younger and growing up with parents who are alcoholics.  I have to say while this book was a quick read, I thought it was setting up for some other kind of outcome with the story.  The book was very dark and I guess it proves money can’t buy happiness.

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

About the Book

Musician Marty Lambert’s life is already falling apart when he receives the phone call that changes everything. His brother, Perry, has killed himself in New York, and Marty—with his marriage on the rocks and his record company sliding into insolvency—decides to leave San Francisco to investigate exactly what went wrong. His trip sends him headlong into the life his only brother left behind—his pleasures and disappointments, his friends, his lovely girlfriend, Jane—and finally, to the home they shared growing up in Virginia. Along the way, through memories and dreams, Marty relives their complicated upbringing as the children of talented, volatile musicians and alcoholics. Through the tragedy, Marty finally faces the demons of his past, ones he pretended he had buried long ago, to emerge on the other side of grief, toward solace and a more hopeful future.

Book Review: Happy Clouds, Happy Trees

happycloudsHappy Clouds, Happy Trees tells the story of painted Bob Ross.  The book starts with a bit of an introduction to Bob and the phenomenon surrounding him. (I feel like everyone knows who he is and everyone loves him and loved to watch him. Or at least pretty much everyone I know feels this way when his name/picture comes up.)  Then it goes in to the real meat of the book, which is separated into 4 parts. The Life and Times of Bob Ross, The Legendary Life of Bob Ross, Reflections on Bob Ross and his Work and Bob Ross Lives.

The book begins with the author mentioning how there isn’t all that much information out there about Bob Ross – many know who he is moreso by his appearance (hair) and that he used to pain happy trees and happy clouds rather than by name. Despite the lack of information being out there, I think that what they were able to find and compile for this book was a lot!  The book does contain some artwork – but it is all other people’s depictions of Bob and not Bob’s work.

Bob will live on through his art and as a cultural phenomenon. (You can find stuff about Bob on Twitter and Tumblr – as well as other sites – that didn’t exist during his life from those who are still just discovering him.) He may even be more popular now than he was during his life.

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

About the Book

An exploration of one of the most beloved and talented artists and painting instructors ever to teach on American television

Readers will know Bob Ross (1942–1995) as the gentle, afro’d painter of happy trees on PBS. And while the Florida-born artist is reviled or ignored by the elite art world and scholarly art educators, he continues to be embraced around the globe as a healer and painter, even decades after his death. In Happy Clouds, Happy Trees, the authors thoughtfully explore how the Bob Ross phenomenon grew into a juggernaut.

Although his sincerity in embracing democracy, gift economies, conservation, and self-help may have left him previously denigrated as a subject of rigorous scholarship, this book uses contemporary art theory to explore the sophistication of Bob Ross’s vision as an artist. It traces the ways in which his many fans have worshiped, emulated, and parodied him and his work. His technique allowed him to paint over 35,000 paintings in his lifetime, mostly of mountains and trees in landscapes heavily influenced by his time in the Air Force and stationed in Alaska.

The authors address issues of amateur art, sentimentality, imitation, boredom, seduction, and democratic practices in the art world. They fully examine Ross as a painter, teacher, healer, media star, performer, magician, and networker. In-depth comparisons are made to Andy Warhol and Thomas Kinkade, and mention is made of his life in relation to Joseph Beuys, Elvis Presley, St. Francis of Assisi, Carl Rogers, and many other creative personalities. In the end, Happy Clouds, Happy Treespresents Ross as a gift giver, someone who freely teaches the act of painting to anyone who believes in Ross’s vision that “this is your world.”

Kristin G. Congdon, Winter Park, Florida, is professor emerita of philosophy and humanities at the University of Central Florida. Her authored or coauthored books include American Folk Art: A Regional Reference (2012) and Just Above the Water: Florida Folk Art (2006). Doug Blandy, Eugene, Oregon, is professor and senior vice provost for academic affairs at the University of Oregon. He has been published in Studies in Art Education and Art Education among other journals and has coedited five anthologies in art education. Painter Danny Coeyman, Brooklyn, New York, earned his MFA from Parsons in 2006 and received a Jack Kent Cooke Fellowship.




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