Wednesday, January 30, 2013

In the Pleasure Groove by John Taylor

"Hungry Like the Wolf," is my standard song for karaoke and I like to think I'm pretty awesome at it.  Duran Duran is one of my all time favorite bands.  I was delighted to see them perform last summer.   Later that year, my wonderful friend Melanie was also kind enough to take time during her recent stay in Glasgow, Scotland to meet John Taylor for me and gifted me with an autographed copy of his autobiography, "In the Pleasure Grove: Love, Death, & Duran Duran" for Christmas.

"In the Pleasure Groove..." is indeed a pleasure.  The narrative reads like you're sitting at a cafe with a good friend as he shares wonderful anecdotes about the wonderful triumphs of his career through the band he founded with his lifelong friends Nick Rhodes and Simon LeBon.  You can't help but read the early sections of the book with a smile on your face as the group rises from playing in tiny clubs, to selling out arenas, to recording the theme to a James Bond film, to meeting Princess Diana, Bowie and the adoration of fans around the world.  The middle section of the book deals with the effect all that fame and pressure had on John, he dealt with substance abuse issues for years that threatened to destroy the success he had both with the band and with his family.  He also shares some wonderful stories about his devoted parents.  Like me, he is an only child and had great love and respect for his parents.  The band's popularity and grueling schedule demands also caused strife with its members but John is very classy and never reveals any dirt on any of his bandmates and friends.  Of course the book is full of descriptions to the songwriting, brainstorming, passion and hard work that goes into making their music.  I've always been a fan but the level of commitment they put into making their music the best it can be has intensified my fandom. 

I highly recommend "In the Pleasure Groove: Love, Death & Duran Duran," by John Taylor not just to fans of Duran Duran but to anyone who appreciates great music and a great story.

In the meantime, check out two of my favorite Duran Duran videos.  The first is "Rio," from their second album of the same name " and the second, "Girl Panic," is from their latest album, "All You Need is Now."

And if you want to see something wild, and you're over the age of 18, look for the "night version" aka the uncensored version of "Girls on Film."  It's insane but brilliant and is a wonderful showcase of Duran Duran's creativity.

John Taylor performing with Duran Duran when I saw them at Foxwoods in the summer of 2012.

As always I received no financial compensation for this review.  I simply love good books and good music.  

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Laydown Lowdown

There are tons of new releases this week so I'm just going to get right to it.

First off, Jimmy P. aka James Patterson continues his early bird habit of releasing his titles on a Monday.  "Private: Berlin," by Mr. Patterson and Mark Sullivan was released yesterday.

Other new releases in Mystery include, "Speaking from Among the Bones," the fifth "Flavia deLuce," novel by Alan Bradley,  "The Alpine Xanadu," by Mary Dahiem, "Into the Dark," by Allison Gaylin, and "Proof of Guilt," by Charles Todd.

If you've ever wondered "How to Entice an Earl," Manda Collins has your answer in the Romance section.  Other new releases include, "When She Said I Do," by Celeste Bradley, "Love Songs," by Barbara Delinsky, and the hardcover editions of E.L. James' "Fifty Shades," trilogy.

Meanwhile the SciFi/Fantasy section may be a bit shattered today with the releases of "Shattered Circle," by Linda Robertson, and "Shattered Souls," by Delilah Devlin.  "The Edritch Conspiracy," by Cat Adams and "Star Wars, Fate of the Jedi: Apocalypse" by Troy Denning is also available today.

Over in the Young Adult section you'll be able to hunt down "The Prey," by Amanda Fukuda, "Nobody but Us," by Kristin Holbrook, "Prodigy," the second "Legends" novel by Marie Lu, and "Stolen Nights," by Rebecca Maizel.

With so many new reads today, what books will make your list?  Remember to support your local bookstores whenever possible.  Happy Reading.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Well Witched - Frances Hardinge

Hey, Down Unders. It's been a tough time over here with Wombly. Over Thanksgiving my car caught on fire and during the kerfuffle of panic and moving things from car to car and everything a horrible accident occurred. Wombly had something happen to his eye. The doctor's are still looking into possibilities of surgery, and it's been a little bit rough. But, he's been feeling a bit better so he thought it would be nice to try and get back into the swing of things over here.

So. Moving on to happier things...

~ ~ ~

Well Witched by Frances Hardinge

            • Jacket Illustration: Greg Swearingen
He also did the artwork for Garden of Eve by KL Going. I loved the jacket cover of that book. Ohmygoodness. I want to go find the other books he's jacket illustrated now. They're so prettttty. Ahem. Moving on.

            • Publisher: HarperCollins 

It was originally published as Verdigris Deep by panmacmillan. I'm assuming the change in name happened when the book came over to America. This may be my cynical side coming out, but I can imagine someone saying, "Hey, American children aren't going to know what verdigris means, so let's use something like 'well' and 'witch' because most kids know what those words mean." Unfortunately, I know that for some Down Unders it may be true. BUT anyway. Onto the story:

The story is about three kids Ryan, Josh, and Chelle who steal coins from a well. What they don't realize: they stole the wishes as well. Weird things start happening. Electricity spazzes out around Josh. The voices of the wishers comes out of Chelle's mouth whenever she's around them. And Ryan? Ryan has creepy little eye warts pop out of his knuckles. Um. Gross. The three friends start trying to fulfill the wishes for the Well Witch, but everything quickly spins out of control.

What I love about this book is that:
1) Frances Hardinge wrote it.
2) The characters are interesting and flawed. I wanted to punch Josh in the face so bad, and pat Ryan on the head, and sit down and listen to Chelle. They felt so real.
3) The story is fast paced and flows so well.
This one was illustrated by
Christopher Gibbs
4) There are sentences like this: “There was a penny of panic in his throat” (37).

Frances Hardinge writes complicated worlds that are so unique and compelling so you want to dive into the book and live there. Except. That. There are also unsafe things. So. You might get emotionally scarred if you actually end up in one of her worlds. Ahem. Anyway.

This book is great for anyone, but in particular for boy Down Unders. The story is fast paced and slightly creepy. Perfect.

ALSO: if you check out Hardinge's website there is a secret story you can read that starts here. I'm horrible with codes so I haven't figured out the first clue yet. 

 If you're interested in purchasing this book check out the linky-do's:

Books-A-Million (I could only find the e-book version on their website - don't know why)

Have a good week Down Unders!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Wicked Wednesday

I had to work my day job on Monday, a federal holiday.  It was a bit of a bummer not being able to sleep in but then I got a piece of news that lifted my spirits.  The fourth book in Tiffany Reisz' "Original Sinners," series received a release date and the cover was revealed. 

For those unfamiliar with the "Original Sinners," let me introduce you to the best series that I've read in some time.  In "The Siren," the first novel in the series, we first meet Nora Sutherlin an erotic author and part-time professional dominant.  She is determined to make her latest novel her most successful to date in both sales and style so she is pleased to be working with accomplished editor, Zach.  Meanwhile Zach isn't as pleased by the situation as he feels he should be working on more scholarly and sophisticated work plus he's dealing with his crumbling marriage.  Then there is Nora's virginal roommate Wesley who is madly in love with her despite their age difference and lifestyle differences.  Unfortunately for him, Nora's heart still burns for her ex, Soren despite trying to put their passionate and sometimes tormented relationship behind her.

What makes this novel different from other erotica that I've read is the depth of all the characters.  Each personality is clear, distinct, full of life, heart and passion.  The premise of a book within a book and flashbacks to different points in time develop the novel into the first entry of what is quickly becoming an epic serial.  Soren also has one heck of a secret, it's not what you'd expect.  It's wild and gives his character and the story a whole other level intrigue and complications.

The subsequent books in the series, "The Angel," and "The Prince," continue to build on all the characters relationships with each other. Plus new characters and secrets are introduced. To say much more would spoil the whole thing.  I will warn you that "The Prince" ends on a dramatic cliffhanger that will leave you begging for July 30th to be here tomorrow.

My best friend gave me this series as a Christmas gift and I read the first three books in a week.  Everyone that I've personally recommended the series to has done the same.  Seriously, go get these books, you won't be sorry.  This series is like nothing you've ever read.  Ms. Reisz will probably spoil you from other erotica as nothing can compare.  So, go get them and then come back here and let's chat about them.  I'd love to meet more "original sinners."

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Laydown Lowdown

Frigid temperatures below freezing are expected in our area this week.  I'd hibernate like a bear all winter if it was socially and financially possible.  This time of year is the best time of year to stay in with a good book.  Especially one set somewhere warm.

Mystery fans, may want to travel to Hawaii in "Aloha, Lady Blue" by Charley Memminger or work on "Arsenic and Old Puzzles," by Parnell Hall or discover, "A Woman of Consequence," by Anna Dean and "Suspect," by Robert Crais.

Romance lovers may want to bask in the "Moonlight Masquerade," by Jude Deveraux or feel the heat with "Unforgettable Love" by Mary A. Miller, or "Killing Time," by Cindy Gerard.

Science Fiction/Fantasy adventurers may wish to march off with "Imager's Battalion," by L.E. Modesitt Jr. or "The Six Gun Tarot," by R.S. Belcher.

Young Adult aficionados may drift away with "A Long, Long Sleep," by Anna Sheehan, "Everbound," by Brodi Ashton, "Nobody," by Jennifer Lynn Barnes or "Boundless," the latest in the "Unearthly" series by Cynthia Hand. 

Will you fight the chill with any of this week's new releases?  What books made your "to-read" list?  Don't forget to support your local bookstores whenever possible.  Happy Reading!!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Fairy Interesting: OUAT: In the Name of the Brother

2.12 "In the Name of the Brother"

In tonight's episode we don't care about Dr. Whale/Frankenstein. And then we don't care about the Cora/Regina storyline.

Also, Rumple actually makes us feel sorry for him. And he and Belle-who-has-forgotten-everything have a heart breaking scene.

Nothing else really happens and a lot of people have epically bad lines of dialogue. Though Snow does have some cute moments.

In case you couldn't tell, I wasn't really a fan of tonight's episode. I just really, really, REALLY don't care at all about Dr. Whale. He is completely uninspiring and has been given all but zero screen time (especially in the first season) so a whole episode about him seemed completely pointless to me. There are many other things I would have liked to see ... like maybe we could finally get a Leroy episode? Or how about bringing back someone interesting like Jefferson. Or at least having something that had anything to do with either the Belle/Rumple crisis - you know, like the dwarf who already lost his memory (that was a dwarf wasn't it?) - or the Cora/Regina thing (which was mind-numbingly more boring than it really should have been).

There were bits and pieces that I did enjoy, though. Really.

I love that Leroy is part of the whole "council" that has formed. Seriously. Can we just see him back together with the pink fairy? And can we also find out where Rumple got that pink wand he used to suck out all the fairy dust to close the portal?

Sidenote: I've been rewatching Lost (because it is an amazing show that deserves rewatching) and that shot of Dr. Whale through the window all disheveled and drinking totally had a "Jack" vibe to it.

Two giant sighs of relief when neither Belle nor Hook were seriously injured, but


The look on Rumple's face when Belle started screaming was just heart-rending. And I really did feel sorry for him in that moment. Then he went all jerky to everyone else and it was not so much and then he kind of worked together with Cora a little and it was really not so much and then he gave Belle the cup and she shattered it and so did my heart ;-;

Um, but didn't he just tell Belle that he only had enough of that potion stuff to enchant one object and that's why she couldn't come with him? And now he's magicked up the cup? And now he randomly wants Emma to come with him on his quest? But we'll come back to that.

Speaking of Emma... Sheesh - harsh much? "Aren't you a doctor? Fix him!"

And Mary Margaret is hilariously adorable when she's all impatient and annoyed.

I DO like this idea of a stranger coming to town who sees what he's not supposed to see, but I'm betting he's not just some random guy. (this IS Storeybrooke after all) And his Star Wars ringtone cracked me up. And vague much with the name "Her" to make us believe the her is someone important, which it probably is, but could just be a red herring.

Poor Hook got sidelined again. He couldn't have had less to do in this episode *sigh*

As much as I could not have been less invested in Frankenstein's story, I did like the twist of his brother being the monster - and the family dynamics of the brother being the only one who really believed in him was nice as well.
Though I do have to say that I don't understand why there were stitches on the brother's HAND. There was nothing wrong with his hand, so why did it have to get cut open and stitched back together?!

The color effects with Rumple in Frankenstein's world were pretty cool too.

And I ALSO liked the way Henry picks up on the fact that there are non-fairy-tale people popping up in town, but he should have gotten that with the Mad Hatter. After all, Alice in Wonderland is not a Grimm fairy tale (though it has "magic" in a way Frankenstein doesn't).

I am guessing (hoping) that more about these different realms is going to become increasingly important (remember how Rumple was looking for the shoes from Oz too?) - maybe as the townsfolk look for a new place to live?

btw Regina's underground lair was amazing.

Okay. Cora? No.

First, she makes my skin crawl perpetually.
Second, sniffing Regina's clothes was pretty much the epitome of CREEPINESS.
Third, "for you, anything" was WAY too sappy. I can't even handle this "I'm going to turn my life around for my child and be completely polar opposite to what my entire character has been to this point" thing. Regina was finally starting to kind of be able to pull it off. Cora. NOT BUYING IT. So she'd better have some super evil plan going on or I'm going to toss my cookies.

AND winner of worst line of the episode goes, unfortunately, to one of my favorite characters when Ruby says to Whale: "I ate my boyfriend" Really? Really?!

Jumping back to Rumple for the ending here...

I have to reiterate that the moment Belle shatters the cup and Rumple's reaction to that was So heart-rending. I love the way you can absolutely hate a character and then feel incredibly sorry for them in the same episode on this show!

Was it just me or did the drop of blood that showed Rumple where Bain is pretty much cover the whole freaking east coast?

Why does he suddenly need Emma? He actually knows where his son is and now he needs someone's help? If he'd just magicked up the cup for Belle the two of them could have been long gone and avoided all of this drama.

Also, as my friend Sam pointed out to me - if they'd said their good-byes you know, NOT HANGING OVER THE MAGIC MEMORY ERASING LINE, they also could have avoided all of this drama.

And now, because of the stupid Pro Bowl and the stupid Super Bowl (I call it stupid because my Pats are not going to be in it and I now have no desire whatsoever to watch it) we have to wait 3 whole entire weeks before we get another episode!?!?!?! Gak!

So, did you love this episode and think I'm an idiot who can't appreciate a good story line? Dislike the same things I did? Dislike it for different reasons? Like the same things I did? Do tell! I would love to chat with more people!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Let's Book It!

I don't know about you but I can't get through a week without reading a book, or two or three!  For this week's group post I thought I'd poll the BWOBNY crew to see what they've been reading this week.

If you've been following Alan's previous reviews, you know he's an alternative history fan.  This week, he has been reading "The United States of Atlantis," by Harry Turtledove, an alternate history of the not so lost continent of Atlantis, and their revolution against English tyranny

Eileen,has been enjoying "Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey" by The Countess of Carnarvon.  According to her, "the show is great and this book is making it even better." 
Rachel has had her nose in "Eye of the World," the first installment in Robert Jordan's epic "Wheel of Time" series.  Meanwhile her boyfriend aka "The Beard" (seriously this kid could give those "Whisker Wars" guys a run for their money) is doing a re-read in preparation for the last book in the "Wheel of Time," series "Memory of Light."   When she wasn't pouring over that or studying for school, she read, "Y: The Last Man on Earth," graphic novel.

Rebecca heard a lot of good things about "Howl's Moving Castle," by Dianna Wynn Jones and she's been enjoying it so far.  

As for me, I devoured "Release Me," by J. Kenner as you know from my review earlier in the week and I am halfway through "Final Appeal," by Lisa Scottoline.  While I enjoy her newer releases, I don't like them as much as her legal thrillers.  So, I am really enjoying this older novel of hers.   

What are you guys reading this week?  Share with us! 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Rory Says the Winners Are...

A giant thank you to all of our lovely readers for making everything we do on this blog worth it :)

And now (without further ado) we present...

The winners of the Blogoversary Extravaganza!!!!

Rory is excited.


The winner of our Kool Kid/Terrific Teen Bundle is......


The winner of our Tantalizing Teen Titles Bundle is.....


The winner of our Non-Fiction Novelties Bundle is......


The winner of our Marvelous Mysteries Bundle is....

Sam P!!!!!

Yay! Congratulations to all the winners! You will be receiving e-mails soon so we can get address information and all that jazz :)

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Laydown Lowdown

It's a great day for "Blue Bloods" fans today as they have two new releases available today.  The Young Adult series gets a graphic novel makeover with a graphic version of the first novel, "Blue Bloods."  Plus, "Gates of Paradise," by Melissa De la Cruz is the latest novel in the series available today.  Other new releases in the genre include "Vortex," by Julie Cross,  "Shades of Earth," by Beth Revis, and "Uses for Boys," by Erica Lorraine Scheidt.
Over in Mystery, you will find "Cold Comfort," by Quentin Bates, "Bloodstone," by Paul Doherty, "Cover of Snow," by Jenny Milchman, and "Snow White Must Die," by Nele Neuhaus; I wonder if Nele knows the evil queen?

Meanwhile in Romance, "Glamour in Glass" by Mary Robinette Kowal, "Finding Carrier," by C.E. Snyder.

Skip to SciFi/Fantasy for "The Aylesford Skull," by James P. Blaylock, "Wide Open," by Deborah Coates, "Hadon of Ancient Opar," by Phillip Joseph Farmer, and "The Warlord of Air," by Michael Moorcock.

Are any of these new releases on your "to-read" list?  Remember to support your local bookstores whenever possible.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Release Me by J. Kenner

After a troubled upbringing, college graduate Nikki Fairchild is thrilled to be starting her adult life in California trying to make her computer tech business dreams come true.  She wasn't looking for love, especially with the scars of a broken heart and more still on her mind.  However, when she crosses paths with billionaire businessman Damien Stark at an industry event, she is instantly smitten.  He is just as smitten, if not more so with her. The two soon embark on a tumultuous, hot, and very steamy relationship that quickly turns from lust to much more.  However, both Nikki and Damien are full of secrets and personal struggles. In order for their relationship to survive, they'll need to work through them together but can the dark and distant businessman and the heartbroken feisty, fledging business woman let down their guards and make it work?  You'll have to pick up the book to find out.

I promise, if you pick up this book you won't be sorry.  At first glance it may be easy to compare it to "Fifty Shades," but don't because this book is so much more than that.  Yes, this book has lots of hot sex and wonderfully written sexy scenes that are best read alone in the comfort of your bedroom than in your doctor's waiting room.  However, Nikki is no virginal wallflower.  She challenges Damien head-on as he does her.  The character development is terrific. Both Nikki and Damien's emotional problems are explored with sincerity.  I can't wait to read more about them and their relationship in subsequent installments.  "Release Me," is the first novel in J. Kenner's "Stark Trilogy."  "Claim Me," will be released in July and "Complete Me," will close out the series in December.  July and December can't come soon enough for me.  Check it out and I'm sure you'll agree.  Once you've read it, I'd love to see your comments below.  Let's discuss! 

For more on "Release Me," or J. Kenner, please visit the author's website.

"Release Me," is an adult erotic romance recommended for adults only.   As always, I received no financial compensation for this review.  I was provided a review copy from NetGalley in cooperation with the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Fairy Interesting: OUAT "The Outsider"

2.11 "The Outsider"
This week Rumple becomes likable again as he gets a little evil, struggles to live up to Belle's high opinion of him, and fights to go find his son. Belle proves to be another fantastic female character addition to the cast with impassioned speeches, book weaponry, and a little bit of fairy dust.

Hook goes on a revenge rampage and totally rocks the manscara while Cora (and Regina) are conspicuously absent.

Archie comes back from the dead, Pongo is adorable, and David and Snow want to get their own apartment. Or, you know, go back to fairy tale world.
I loved Belle in this episode so very much. I liked her last season and she's been okay thus far this season, but she totally kicked it this episode. She's probably edging into my top female character though Ruby's been up there for a while.

When she pushed that bookshelf over onto Hook all I could think was this:

When she was on the phone with Rumple I was rolling my eyes because if they had cellphones from this century she could have like texted him. I guess Storeybrooke isn't big on technological advancement.

Also, why the hay bale did Hook just leave when Belle was trapped in the elevator. He had to guess that Rumple would show up - it didn't make any sense to me. At all. Any thoughts?

Grumpy is adorable and so is Belle and I loved his pep talk encouraging her to go of and have an adventure.

On a clothing note - I loved Belle's skirt in Storybrooke, but that adventuring shirt had to be super uncomfortable. I don't think you need that much cleavage to hunt down a fiery demon beast.

And speaking of tracking down a monster, I want Mulan pushed off a cliff in the flashbacks too. It's driving me crazy that she's just tacked on to everyone else's story! Gah! Give her a decent storyline or just let her go. Please.

That was a freaking large amount of fairy dust. Did she really need to use all of it like that? Isn't it kind of hard to get?

And of course, it's Beauty and the Beast all over again. I'm not sure what I think about Prince Philip being back. I would rather see more Aurora, but of course in the flashback she's under the sleeping curse, though I think sleeping she would still be more interesting than Mulan. Okay, sorry. If you like Mulan please tell me why - I would love to get another opinion. Really!

I really do like evil, manipulative Rumple MUCH better than the tame one. But at the same time I loved how emotional he got about Belle's safety and I love how he is trying to change because of her. I'm feeling very contradictory about his character this season.

Dude. The magic ship shield was so cool. I love how Belle found it and freed Archie and is just smart and cute. And so protective of Rumple.

Also, so happy Archie is NOT DEAD! Yeah!

I found it a little weird that Emma is the one resistant to the idea of David and Snow getting their own place. And I really don't like the idea of them going back to fairy tale world. Apparently Snow and Emma haven't talked about the horrors of their trip and how terrible everything is. I can understand where other people are coming from but .... I also don't know why David is so gung-ho about the idea.

Okay. First I have a calm and composed question and then I will freak out about the last 5 minutes of the episode.

What happens if the person takes off the charmed object - e.g. if Smee takes off his hat or loses it? Would he lose his memories along with it? Does that mean Rumple would need to walk around everywhere with the shawl draped over his shoulders a la Arthur Dent as long as he was outside the town limits?

I really thought for a moment that Rumple was going to lose his memories and I was freaked out/kind of excited to see what they would do with that.


I was watching this by myself - my brother and his girlfriend were downstairs. I am pretty sure they thought the house had caught fire or something from my ear-piercing scream of NOOOOO NONONONONONO because that happened. Literally screamed. Not Belle! NOT BELLE!

Then I shrieked NOT HOOK!

And (I take notes while I'm watching so I can keep my thoughts together for these posts) this is what happened on my keyboard:


WHo is in the car?! What is going ont!?? How can it end like thattttttttttttt GAHELHL:ALGO: P:OIL:K SDL:KH FLA:FJ:SLFJSLFJL:KRH SL:HAL:FJSDL:f

So yeah. Really not able to anything right now. My hands are actually shaking thinking about it.

Not that I get caught up in the fictional worlds of tv shows or anything.


So ... next week I will be gluing myself to the tv at 8:00. Just saying.

Saturday, January 12, 2013


We're just 12 days into 2013 and I've read 5 books so far.  I'm currently in the midst of book 6.  My overall goal is to read 100 books in 2013.  I missed this goal last year by about 25%.  This  year I'm determined to see it through.  The rest of the BWOBNY crew plans to either meet our exceed last year's goal.

Jess B. is striving to read 200 books this year.  That's about books a week!

Jess P. has set a goal for herself of 25 books.  She thinks most of them will be picture books for little Ana but I hope she finds some time to relax with a book for herself. 

Naomi plans on reading 125 books this year.

Rachel is aiming for 50 but hopes to read more.

Despite being busy with school, teaching, and her other job, Rebecca plans on meeting last year's goal of 150 books.  No one has mastered the art of multitasking like Rebecca-nobody!

All together, that's 702 books between us!   We'll update you on our progress throughout the year and review our favorites with you.  What are your reading goals for 2013?