Book review: Stand-In Groom

By , November 28, 2010

Stand-in groomStand-In Groom
By Kaye Dacus

Do you ever find yourself looking for a nice, gentle read?  You know, with just the right amount of romance – where someone’s clothes aren’t getting ripped off on every other page, but you still get a great HEA?  (I know you’re thinking, but Amanda, I like ripped clothes.  Ok, but sometimes it’s just too much and you lose the story, right?)

Well, with Stand-In Groom you get a good story with good values.  The book is Christian and the characters do pray and go to church, but that aspect of the story is not the focus.  Instead we are treated to a love story between Anne and George.  

Anne plans weddings, and George needs a wedding planned, but it’s not his.  It’s for his secret, famous employer who needs to keep things under wraps until the actual event.  Sparks fly between the main characters, but will love be enough to keep them together throughout the whole ordeal?

In an attempt at full disclosure, I must admit that I have met and am friends with the author, Kaye Dacus.   This is the first book of hers I’ve read, but it probably won’t be the last. (And in case you think I only gave her a good review because she’s a friend, you need to know that I’m usually harder on my friends than on people I don’t know, FYI.)

So if you need a good book, but don’t want anything too risque, try these.  Kaye’s series has 3 books in it right now and library owns the first two…check them out today!  I’ve already got book 2, Menu for Romance on hold.
:) Amanda

Music Review: Interpol

By , November 24, 2010

by Interpol

It seems appropriate that new wave /post punk revival band Interpol’s self-titled fourth album (released on Matador) features album-cover art with their name exploding into fragments.  Whether or not it represents any specific feelings for the band, it could certainly speak to the year they’ve lived.  The album was rumored to be released in winter of 2010, but wasn’t released until September.  Interpol was  supposed to open for U2 this past summer, but the tour was canceled after Bono’s back injury and subsequent surgery.  And to top it all off, bassist Carlos D left the band.

As Interpol remains one of my favorite bands of the past decade, it was with much anticipation I listened to this album.  How does Interpol compare with Turn on the Bright Lights, Antics, and Our Love to Admire?   It can’t hold a candle to the atmospheric,  single-note melodious perfection of Bright Lights, but Interpol receives the same B to B+ grade as Antics and Our Love to Admire.    If you haven’t listened to any of Interpol’s catalog, I recommend you start with their latest and go backwards.  Save the musical brilliance that is Turn on the Bright Lights for last.

Is Interpol’s days numbered?  Time will tell.  All band members have worked on other musical projects.  With Interpol’s best album still the first, the cards may be stacked against them.      -crystal

CD review: Song Up In Her Head

By , November 24, 2010

Song Up In Her Head
By Sarah Jarosz

Check out this phenomenal young bluegrass artist, who was dubbed Gillian Welch’s long lost daughter by Rolling Stone magazine upon the release of her debut album at the age of eighteen.

DVD Review: Death Comes to Town

By , November 20, 2010

Death comes to townDeath Comes to Town
From the Kids in the Hall

I have been a Kids in the Hall fan since high school.  I used to watch their sketch comedy shows on Comedy Central on Saturday afternoons when nothing else was on TV.  I even saw them live at the Ryman a year or so ago, so when I heard about Death Comes to Town I was excited.  New Kids in the Hall comedy?  Sign me up.

And then I sat down to watch it.  The first scene has Mark McKinney dressed as Death in a man thong and reaper cape and I thought “What have I gotten myself into?” Then someone dies – which makes sense, given the name of the miniseries. But who did it? So the whole miniseries is one arcing story line, instead of the old short sketch format.

It might start off a somewhat questionable, but once it gets going it becomes a little addictive.  But addictive like reality TV, not like, say, Glee

The main cast of characters are all new – being residents of the fictional town of Shuckton, Canada.  But some old favorites show up to make us feel right at home: McKinney and McCullough’s cops, the Chicken Lady, and even the naked guy in the towel that I can’t remember his name has a cameo.  There is also plenty of cross-dressing, just in case you were worried about that.

So to recap – starts slow, but definately picks up.  My favorite character?  Dave Foley’s nurse who takes care of Kevin McDonald’s cat.  She is am awesome (watch it, you’ll get it).

Check it out. Watch it. Let me know whatcha think.
:) Amanda

PS Feel free to look away whenever Death McThongy is on screen.  After all, you don’t want to burn out your retinas, or you’ll never find out who dun it.

Book review: New Cookbooks

By , November 17, 2010

Get ready for the holidays with four new cookbooks by Nigella Lawson, Jamie Oliver, Rachael Ray, and Ina Garten.

Nigella Kitchen: Recipes From the Heart of the Home

Jamie’s America: Easy Twists on Great American Classics, and More

Rachael Ray’s Look + Cook

Barefoot Contessa How Easy Is That?: Fabulous Recipes and Easy Tips










Book review: For the Win

By , November 15, 2010

For the Win
by Cory Doctorow

Cory Doctorow is a populist tech guru and co-editor of popular culture blog BoingBoing. He is also internationally recognized copyright scholar but he claims his first love is science fiction. His prolific fiction output is often overshadowed by activist work in the fields of copyright, personal privacy, and consumer rights. With a few caveats, For the Win is the best of Doctorow’s novels I have read so far.

For the Win features a group of young (and old) MMORPG players from all over the world who start a union to take on game companies and repressive governments. Their efforts garner mixed results with some new rights for online workers paid for in RL blood. The book is really a thinly veiled economics lesson. Doctorow’s fatal flaw is doing what the best YA authors do not do: talk down to their readers. There are clearly times when the narrative stops and there is a break for the “okay kids, now it is time for a lesson” nonfiction passage. Of course the in-game economics are the same as RL economics and there are camouflaged explanations of our nation’s most recent crisis of capitalism. If unconcerned with aesthetics, it is a great book for kids who want to learn about economics or adults that want to learn about MMORPGs. (Or maybe anyone who wants the financial meltdown explained to them without having to the hear words Geithner or Bernanke.) Doctorow is surprisingly neutral towards labor issues considering how polemical he is about other issues, e.g. privacy in Little Brother and copyright in Content. If you are someone that is concerned with aesthetics, I recommend one of the most underrated novels of 2009, Chronic City by Jonathan Lethem. Lethem’s book deals with the same issues of class, media alienation, and semi-AR but in a more satisfying way. You can find my original review here.

It is a shame Doctorow’s fiction has yet to achieve the clarity and conviction of his nonfiction. For the Win finds him juggling too many characters, many of which I don’t understand the motivations of, and a lot of the action takes place “in-game.” Should I be enough of a jerk to mock, “OH MAN THAT WAS AN AWESOME KEYSTROKE!”? But the thing is, and this is a major theme of the book, if millions are playing these games and I’m not, that just means I’m a dinosaur. I can make my jokes as I whistle past the cultural graveyard.

DVD review: 3 Favorite Thanksgiving Movies

By , November 10, 2010

Here are the three Thanksgiving movies without which my holiday is not complete.

Pieces of April

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

Bridget Jones’s Diary






DVD review: 3 Quick Picks

By , November 3, 2010

Every Little Step

This is a wildly entertaining look at the auditions for the recent Broadway revival of A Chorus Line.  It’s like watching highbrow reality TV.


City Island

Starring Andy Garcia and Julianna Margulies, this story of family secrets and misunderstandings reminded me of a Shakespearean comedy set in the Bronx. 


The Messenger

You don’t want to miss the great performances by Ben Foster and Woody Harrelson in this moving and compassionate war film.

Legends of Film: Charlie Haas interview

By , November 1, 2010

Bill brings us an interview with Charlie Haas, the screenwriter of Tex, Gremlins 2, Matinee and Over the Edge. Over the Edge will be shown Saturday November 20, 2010 at 2 p.m. in the Main Library Auditorium – Nashville Public Library.

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