Book Review: Aerosmith, 50th Anniversary Updated Edition

Aerosmith, 50th Anniversary Updated Edition is the Ultimate Illustrated History of the “Bad Boys from Boston”.  Aerosmith is one of the only bands left on my concert bucket list (though I did get to see Steven Tyler with Paul McCartney on a trip to Vegas! It was just as amazing as you’d think!) so when I saw this book come up for review I knew I had to check it out.  Plus, illustrated is always fun as I am a wannabe concert photographer. (Or just photographer in general, I guess. Since I was about 5 years old!)  In addition to telling the story of the band, there are also memorabilia and artifacts splashed throughout the pages – handwritten biographies from the 70s, album covers, ticket stubs, comic book pages, etc.  Coming in at nearly 300 pages it is pretty comprehensive, lots of great information in there and tons of wonderful photos!  If you’re a fan or just interested in learning more, do not hesitate to check out this book. And if 2020 taught me anything – it will be to make sure I can do everything in my power to see these guys once it is safe to do so!

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

About the Book

This ultimate illustrated history of Aerosmith—one of the greatest rock ‘n’ roll bands of all time and the best-selling American hard rock band of all time—is now revised and updated to celebrate the group’s 50th anniversary as well as their multi-year farewell concert tour.

This massive, visually exhilarating celebration in hardcover provides a front-row seat to the Boston Bad Boys’ entire career: scrapping their way cross-country in the 1970s, scrapping their way back to the top of the heap in the late 1980s, and scrapping with each other the entire way. Updated with 16 additional pages of text and photographs, this complete history of one of the world’s most successful and popular bands features: A lively and honest band history by music journalist Richard BienstockSidebar album reviews from a host of well-known music journalists, including Greg Kot, Jaan Uhelszki, Chuck Eddy, Bill Holdship, Martin Popoff, Daniel Bukszpan, and moreNearly 400 photos of the band, on and off the stage, and images of rare memorabilia, including gig posters, backstage passes, ticket stubs, 7-inch picture sleeves, and moreAdvice from Steven Tyler and Joe Perry to young bandsA survey and discussion of the guitars employed by Joe Perry and Brad Whitford over their 50 years in—and out—of AerosmithAn Aerosmith discography encompassing all official audio and video releasesAerosmith: The Ultimate Illustrated 50 Year History of the Boston Bad Boys is an awesome, must-have add to the library of every Aerosmith fan.

Book Review: Think Like an Artist, Don’t Act Like One

Think Like an Artist, Don’t Act Like One teachers you lessons you can learn from art and staying curious. The book looks at the history of art to find lessons that can help artists and really, anyone, help answer questions we may have about ourselves and our lives.  The book looks at 75 art pieces and has 75 life lessons, one for each.  In addition to feeling like I got to walk through a museum (who knows when the next time I’ll actually do that!) I learned a lot of things about myself and the world through reading each of these lessons.

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

About the Book

The third edition in the ‘Think Like a Pro’ series (sold over 94.000 copies)!

The series provides 75 quirky, one-paragraph lessons taken from the field of law, management, design, and art – ready-to-implement into your daily life. A thought-provoking and most of all amusing collection of lesson derived from the authors’ experience.

This book presents 75 ways to look at art and 75 life lessons you can learn from it. From the works of ancient Egypt and Greece to today’s abstract and conceptual pieces, by way of Leonardo da Vinci, Dürer, Rembrandt, Picasso, Warhol, and Ai Weiwei, art inspires us to take a fresh look at the fundamental questions we face—questions about success, love, work, friendship, life, and death. It’s a lively introduction to art history as it resonates in your own daily life and an exhortation to look at art in your own personal way.

In addition, more and more people are starting to invest in art. However, art investment requires a fair amount of thought, knowledge and patience – which begs the question “do you need to be an expert to invest in art?”. Check out here the basics of art investments to learn more about the benefits of investing in art!

Book Review: Think Like A Designer, Don’t Act Like One

This book is pretty cool – it tells you how everything is a design and things that you can learn from designers.  There are 75 different lessons throughout the book that will give you a new outlook on life and all its designs and where they may be hiding!   Think big – but be aware of long term consequences. I don’t consider myself to be much of a designer, unless you count my scrapbook pages – but my latest theme has been purple/pink/blue and now I am being told to avoid purple. Eek.  I guess I’ll just continue on, not being a designer 😉  (Even if it did work for Prince)  Although I think my favorite lesson was “Don’t Be Different, Be Better” #38.

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

About the Book

This anthology of design concepts reveals what you can learn from Mad Men’s Don Draper, why the Beatles were not just brilliant as musicians, how a lemon tart can make you world famous and why purple is just always so wrong. Unless you’re Prince or the Pope, that is, but this book is for everyone who isn’t.

Book Review: Legendary Guitars An Illustrated Guide

Legendary Guitars is an Illustrated guide to the guitars of the 50s and 60s. The book is full of great photos and great information about the history of all the different guitars that were put to good use in the 50s and 60s – when people were sick of watching TV and looking for new ways to entertain themselves.   In the 50s, teenagers longed for Pop Music.  “Pop Music’s shiniest icon was the electric guitar.” In the 60s, it was all about distortion to create “the most extraordinary music ever created.”  The book gives a bit of history of what was going on in each of the years and then dives into the guitars from each of the years from 1950 – 1969.  It is cool to see a bit of evolution amongst the guitar makers happening throughout the two decades.

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

About the Book

Legendary Guitars guides you through the electric guitars of the 1950s and ‘60s and the culture, styles, and music that shaped them.

“Finding ways to use the same guitar people have been using for 50 years, to make sounds no one has heard before, is truly what gets me off.”  —Jeff Beck

Legendary Guitars: An Illustrated Guide recaps how the great instruments created and produced between 1950 and 1969 went on to define the design, looks, and playability of today’s electric guitars.

Legendary Guitars draws direct lines between the mid-century originals and many of today’s most highly-prized instruments. Alongside classic originals, you’ll see great examples of more recent instruments, showing how today’s guitar makers have produced fresh interpretations that draw on the venerable ‘50s and ‘60s templates. The guide details everything from highly accurate (and highly priced) vintage remakes and artist models to the broader influences and mashup qualities of modern retro creations.

The 1950s marked the birth of so many now-classic electric guitars: from the Gibson Les Paul and the Fender Telecaster (as seen with Bill Haley & His Comets and with Little Richard’s band) to the Gretsch 6120 and the Gibson Flying V (twanged by Duane Eddy and touted by Albert King).

In the 1960s, players pushed the sound of the electric guitar—bending, distorting, and overloading the instrument to within an inch of its life—all to fire some of the most extraordinary music ever created, not least by Jimi Hendrix with an upside-down Fender Stratocaster, Eric Clapton with a psychedelic Gibson SG, and George Harrison with a 12-string Rickenbacker.

The work of more than 50 guitar brands—past and present—is highlighted, including Airline, Ampeg, Antoria, Aria, Baldwin, Bigsby, Burns, Coral, Danelectro, Eko, Epiphone, Fender, Framus, Futurama, Gibson, Goya, Gretsch, Grimshaw, Guild, Guyatone, Hagstrom, Harmony, Hofner, Hopf, Ibanez, Kawai, Kay, Kent, Kustom, La Baye, Magnatone, Messenger, Micro-Frets, Mosrite, National, Rickenbacker, Silvertone, Stratosphere, Supro, Teisco Del Rey, Tokai, Vega, Vox, Wandre, Watkins, and Yamaha.

Alongside the eye-popping guitar photographs is a unique collection of classic advertisementsperiod catalogs, and other rare memorabiliaLegendary Guitars: An Illustrated Guide also contains a chronological narrative of world events that places these remarkable instruments in the context of two decades of mesmerizing contrasts and revolutionary invention.

Legendary Guitars takes you on an illustrated journey through the guitars and culture that drove the sound of rock ‘n’ roll, blues, and country, from 1950 to present day.

Book Review: Fender Telecaster and Stratocaster

Fender Telecaster and Stratocaster tells the story of the World’s Most Iconic Guitars. The book is split into 3 parts – I: Leo and the Origin of Fender, II: The Telecaster (including artist profiles) and III: The Stratocaster (also including article profiles).  There are a lot of photos throughout and as always I tried to keep track of how many of the artists featured I had seen live.  With Telecasters:  0 and with Stratocasters: 3.  I always enjoy reading about the history of these instruments, especially because they all started not all that long ago, but you kind of feel like they’ve been around forever.  I find Fenders to be really pretty looking and that’s really the extent of my knowledge on guitars, so it was nice to read and learn more about them!

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

About the Book

Celebrate of the history and significance of both the Fender Telecaster and Stratocaster for the company’s 75th anniversary in this combined edition of Dave Hunter’s two best-selling books!

The Fender Telecaster, created in Les Fender’s Fullerton, California, workshop and introduced in 1950, is a working-class hero and the ultimate blue-collar guitar (visit to read the reviews posted by the experts about this instrument). It wasn’t meant to be elegant, pretty, or sophisticated. Designed to be a utilitarian musical instrument, it has lived up to that destiny. In the hands of players from Muddy Waters to James Burton, Bruce Springsteen to Joe Strummer, the Telecaster has made the music of working people—country, blues, punk, rock ‘n’ roll, and even jazz.

Fender’s Stratocaster is arguably the number-one instrument icon of the guitar world. When introduced in 1954, its offset space-age lines, contoured body, and three-pickup configuration set the music world on its ear—it was truly unlike any guitar that had come before. In the hands of the world’s most beloved players, such as Buddy Holly, Eric Clapton, Ike Turner, and, yes, Jimi Hendrix, the Stratocaster has since become a popular instrument of choice among rock, blues, jazz, and country players and, not coincidentally, is also one of the most copied electric guitars of all time.

In this authoritatively written, painstakingly curated, and gloriously presented combined edition to celebrate Fender’s 75th anniversary, author Dave Hunter covers both of the guitar’s histories from concept, design, and model launch through its numerous variations and right up to the present. The story is richly illustrated with archival images, musicians in action, studio shots, memorabilia, and profiles of over 50 Tele and Strat slingers through the ages.

With its unprecedented level of detail and stunning visuals, Fender Telecaster and Stratocaster is the only book tribute worthy of the world’s two greatest guitars.

Hanson – Live & Electric Revisited


In September, Hanson announced they’d be doing a streaming series with “Limited In Person Tickets” which at first, seemed a little bit scary.  Did I want to risk it in the middle of a pandemic?  I talked with some friends and we formulated a plan on how we thought we could do things as safely as possible and decided to try for tickets. We were able to get tickets for all 3 shows so our planning began.

To try and limit my interactions with others, I decided to park at the parking garage at the airport rather than my usual valet shuttle.  While AA flights were half a much as Delta, I opted to go with Delta because they were keeping middle seats open.  We rented a car so we wouldn’t need to uber/lyft.  Upon entering the plane, hotel room AND the concert we wiped everything down with disinfecting wipes.  We wore masks the whole time (even the concert when it wasn’t “required”) unless outside and able to stay a distance away from anyone else. I did no indoor dining, instead a mix of outdoor seating and take out.

Wearing a mask on the flight there was not my favorite thing, which kind of made me nervous for the rest of the trip, but I think I just had too many layers on my face and when I woke up I panicked and couldn’t breathe. I wore a different mask on the way home and things were fine (or I had just gotten more used to having a mask on for hours at a time at that point.)

We landed, picked up a car, checked in at the hotel and got to sanitizing. We ordered lunch and decided to check out the Gathering Place a new-ish park that we had never gotten a chance to check out on earlier trips because Hanson activities had kept us far too busy. While wandering around, I spotted who I thought was James van der Beek.  Turns out it WAS indeed him and his family on their trip to TX and we chatted for a bit and took a photo. (He is originally from CT so that was our topic of conversation) After that we found a penny machine so I was having a pretty great day.  It was SUPER hot, so we jumped back in the car and headed to Buck Atom’s because I had donated for a brick for their neon sign and wanted to check it out – plus Buck was rocking a face mask so I had to see that as well! Of course, Route 66 was being all dug up and we had to go all around to get there, but figured it out.

Friday we did more exploring, this time at the Philbrook Museum, another spot we never had time to visit before (and where Isaac got married!) Masks were required at all times inside but outside only if someone you didn’t come with was nearby.  There were not many people there at all. But it still was H-O-T so we didn’t last outside very long.  We were all pleasantly surprised they had some pennies on display too!

We were pretty nervous walking to the first show as we had no idea what to expect. And while I would have preferred to have more people wearing masks, I wore mine the whole time and the tables were about 8 feet apart and everyone stayed at their spots.  The theme was “Live & Electric Revisited” which was released in 2005 and recorded during a show on a 2004 tour in Australia.  I wasn’t quite sure what the theme meant – but apparently it meant nothing released after 2005 existed.  Which was weird, but also a little refreshing.  When you have such a large catalog, trying to pick a 25-ish setlist is probably a difficult task.  Cutting it in half-ish (Underneath was their 3rd full length album, they have released 6) probably helps narrow things down a bit more.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from the setlist, but they did a pretty solid job. A new cover of “It’s Your Thing” was a pleasant surprise as well! And “Love Me” is my favorite Taylor solo, ever. (Broken Angel is up there as well. Being Me… well, not so much, but you can’t win them all.)

When we left, there were fireworks! The ballpark had a concert as well and I guess they had fireworks once the show was over. It was nice to see them but unfortunately they set a nearby building on fire so not sure the ball games will be getting anymore fireworks now.  Taylor did a virtual DJ after party we watched in the room – and he debuted a NEW Hanson dance track!  I’m still on the fence about it, maybe I need a few more listens for it to grow on me.

Saturday was TWO shows – and let me tell you – 8 months of no shows and doing 3 full-length (or maybe even longer than usual) Hanson shows back-to-back-to-back in 28ish hours was BRUTAL.  I am so out of concert shape it isn’t even funny.  While the beginning of the setlists were similar to the night before, there were 6 different songs show #2 and 8.5 during show #3 (extra verse to A Song to Sing I am counting as a half)

Sometime after the first show, a water main broke across the street from the venue.  By the time it was time to head down for the second show, we found the real life “Hanson Stream” – opting to NOT ford through ankle deep rushing icky water, we had to go alllll around the block but made it with plenty of time to spare – and there even was a scare that the venue would have no water and the show may not be able to go on.  After the show we were going to just walk through it since we could dry everything off back in the room – but it was still rushing and we fortunately had a friend willing to give us a ride back up to the hotel. Cue the Oregon Trail jokes about fording the river.

Sunday I was happy to head home.  My buttocks set off the scanner at the airport and after my first airport pat down in I don’t even know how long, we got to the gate and waited to board.  Finally on the plane, I was ready to sleep, but the pilot said that there was an issue with a tire.  Of course, it ended up needing to be changed which would cause a delay that would make me miss my layover in Atlanta.

I ended up getting off the plane and calling to try and get a new flight out the next day and stay another night in Tulsa.  Except the Delta app was only letting me change my 2nd leg from Atlanta to the next day.  I was told they could get me on a flight out the next day but I was considered “boarded” on the original flight and they couldn’t get me off.  I was on hold to the point that the flight started re-boarding when I finally asked to speak to the supervisor directly – who told me all I needed to do was walk up to the desk and ask them to “de-board” me. 2 seconds later, everything was all set for my 6am flight out the next morning (ughhh) and Delta gave me a voucher to stay at the Hilton on the airport grounds.  So much for not dealing with a shuttle or Lyft – I had to do both to get to/from the hotel… you know, best laid plans and all.  Fortunately the flights out were uneventful – unless you count Taylor’s daughter and wife being on one with me.

Despite not being home to grab tickets for November’s shows, we did alright and will be heading back again.  We will be doing all the same things as this trip, I think it is important to not let our guard down just because we had done the trip once successfully.

This post had been quarantined, like me, for 14 days.  I am and have been, symptom free.

Book Review: The Crush

The Crush (The Ballad of Emery Brooks, #1)Emery Brooks grandmother had always told her that she should not settle for anything less than a love story handwritten for her by God. While everyone around her is starting to get “boy crazy”, Emery doesn’t seem interested. She knows that she will meet him when the time is right. She believed that her grandparents had the greatest love story and she wanted something just like theirs. When Sawyer Alston comes to town, she wants absolutely nothing to do with him. When she finds some of her grandmother’s journals from when she was about Emery’s age now, she realized that initially her grandmother wanted absolutely nothing to do with her grandfather and maybe the dreams she has been having about Sawyer aren’t that far off. But by the time she realizes that she may have feelings for him, despite him not believing in love, he is already dating a girl at school that Emery is not a fan of. But when Sawyer needs help and a lighthouse in his life, Emery is there for him and they become friends first and try to build a foundation before moving on to anything more.

I was hoping for a nice love story for an end of summer read. That was not what I ended up with! But I did enjoy the book just the same. I liked how there were the parallels between Grandma Adeline and Emery – even though Grandma had passed away, she was still a big part of the story through her journals and Emery’s memories of her. Fair warning – I won’t say what happens but a couple chapters from the end I ended up getting so frustrated I threw the kindle across the bed and had to wait a bit before finishing things out. I really felt a bond with these characters – maybe because Emery reminded me a bit of myself and the jerks at school of all the jerks I had to deal with growing up.

This book is the first in a series by Allyson Kennedy and I will be looking forward to continuing on with Emory in her journey!

I received a free e-copy of this book to read from Reedsy Discovery!

About the Book

A combination hopeless romantic and old soul trapped in a teenager’s body, closet musician Emery Brooks wonders if she’ll ever find a love as timeless as her grandparents’. Fear of judgment and social alienation due to her older brother’s past mistakes render her incapable of writing a love song. Still, Emery holds fast to the ideals her Grandma Adeline instilled in her from a young age, vowing to allow God to handwrite her love story, to never settle for anything less.

That is, until love cynic Sawyer Alston enters her world. Broken by the wrath of his parents’ failed marriage, Sawyer has been uprooted from everything he’s ever known and now sees love as a void of empty promises. When Emery and Sawyer meet due to their mothers’ rekindled friendship, Emery soon realizes she’s in over her head.

For, despite her resistance, her first crush, her first glimpse at love, involves a boy who doesn’t believe in love at all.

Book Review: Do You Feel Like I Do?

Do You Feel Like I Do is a memoir by Peter Frampton.  I had grown up listening to Peter’s music as my Dad was a fan, so I was interested in learning more about him. The book starts talking about a plane crash with all his equipment on board.  The story comes back a few more times in the book with them trying to figure out how to leave the country and if any of the instruments or equipment could have been salvaged.  It was a neat approach to rather than tell this story chronologically when it happened in relation to the rest of the book – start by grabbing you with this mystery and then intertwine it in to the rest of the story.  I didn’t know too much about Peter so it was nice to find out more about him and his experiences in the music industry from his own perspective.

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

About the Book

A revelatory memoir by rock icon and legendary guitarist Peter Frampton.
Do You Feel Like I Do? is the incredible story of Peter Frampton’s positively resilient life and career told in his own words for the first time. His groundbreaking album Frampton Comes Alive! spawned three top-20 singles and sold 8 million copies the year it was released (over 17 million to date) and was inducted into the GRAMMY Hall of Fame in January. Frampton was on a path to stardom from an early age. By 22, he was touring incessantly and making use of the talk box which would become his signature guitar effect. “I started playing music so young that I sometimes feel I’ve lived more than one lifetime already,” says Frampton.

The artist shares fascinating stories of his collaborative work and tours with the likes of George Harrison and David Bowie, among others, and reveals both the blessing and curse of Frampton Comes Alive!. And he opens up about becoming the heartthrob and cover boy he never wanted to be, his overcoming substance abuse, and how he’s continued to play at the top of his game despite an inflammatory muscle disease.

Peppered throughout his narrative is the story of his favorite guitar, which he thought he’d lost in a plane crash in 1980. But in 2011, it mysteriously showed up again – saved from the wreckage. Frampton will tell of that unlikely reunion here in full for the first time, and it is emblematic of his life and career as a legendary artist.

“This is my journey,” Frampton says of the book. “All I ever wanted to do was play guitar and it’s taken me many different places – physically and mentally. I’ve been to the moon and back without a rocket, but also to the depths of despair. You never stop paying your dues. Failure has been my greatest inspiration. I brush myself off and then I want to ‘do it again.’ Do You Feel Like I Do?”

Book Review: Lotsa Limericks

Lotsa Limericks: a collection of poems by [Lesli Johnson]A limerick is defined as a humorous, frequently rude, verse of three long and two short lines rhyming aabba. You may have heard, ‘There once was a man from Nantucket…’ Well, Lesli Johnson tries her hand at these funny little verses and hits the ball outta the park. It seemed like a lot were about falling down, or maybe that is just the ones that I related to the most. If you’re looking for something humorous and will give you a big laugh or maybe just a chuckle and is a quick read, I can’t recommend anything more than Lots Limericks. It’s very short, a very quick read and very entertaining. Each limerick is also written in a different font within the book which adds another layer of “whimsy”. Limericks are in alphabetical order, so go in order or use the Table of Contents to pick one that’s title seems to match your mood. You can’t go wrong, no matter how you choose!

I love that this is such a quick read, but if you’re looking for a quick pick me up each morning (or evening!) you can easily just read one a day until you finish the book! It’ll keep you entertained for a couple of months that way!

I received an e-copy of this book to review through Reedsy Discovery!

About the Book

Limericks are lotsa fun and this book is full of limericks to make you smile and/or laugh out loud. They have a rhythm to them which adds to their charm. The book covers a wide variety of themes. Some of the titles are: Blub-Blub Fiddlin’ Helping Her Up I guarantee you, it is hard not to smile. Happy reading!

Book Review: Good Mourning

Good Mourning is from TLC’s Long Island Medium, Theresa Caputo.  If you’ve watched her show at all, you know that she can talk to Spirit who tells her things about the other side.  Spirit told her that a lot of people can’t deal with the loss of a loved one because there are so many other loses in their lives that they don’t know how to deal with, so Theresa put this book together with ways to mourn other daily loses – these can include a relationship, a friendship, being an empty nester, your job, etc.  Each chapter focuses on a different daily loss with some personal anecdotes and information from Theresa and then the end of the chapter has a “Good Mourning” recap with the recap to how you can help move through the loss.  While all of these losses may not affect me right now, chances are they will at some point so I appreciated Theresa’s wisdom.

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

About the Book

Theresa Caputo, TLC’s Long Island Medium and the three-time New York Times bestselling author, teaches us how to ritualize and recover from the daily losses in our lives.

Life on earth comes with losses that often go unrecognized, unacknowledged, and un-mourned. This invisible pain causes deeper emotional damage— devastation that Theresa Caputo has witnessed in many of her clients. Though they are suffering, they rarely understand where the anguish is coming from—or how to deal with it.

Theresa’s clients often confuse their emotional distress with depression or anxiety. But it’s more than that. It’s grief, deep and profound, and it consumes the soul. The only relief, according to Theresa’s special gift she calls Spirit, is to pay more attention to how we experience, ritualize, and recover from the hurt in our lives.

Once we name these feelings of grief, recognize the losses for what they are, and create mourning rituals around them, we can move through the pain and begin to heal. It isn’t just a good idea to mourn these types of upsets; it’s essential, so that we can then enjoy a fresh beginning.

In Good Mourning, Theresa opens up more than ever before, and with the help of Spirit, helps us manage daily losses to ultimately lead more fulfilling and joyful lives.

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